The Van Alstyne High School Cheer program is starting the school year off with spirit and energy as a new school year approaches. The cheerleaders will have plenty of work to keep the squad busy before the students and staff will fill the high school’s gym on Sept. 15 for the first Panther pep rally of the year. Head cheer Coach Melissa Reid and the rest of the Van Alstyne cheer squad will represent Panther Pride into 2018 as the program commences with a packed schedule of pep rallies, spirit activities, football games and competitions, among many other events.

“We hope to raise spirit and school pride not only at the school but in the town as well,” Head Coach Melissa Reid said in an interview earlier this month. “We would love to see the town decked out every Friday night in blue and white.”

The Van Alstyne High School Cheer Squad will welcome back Lauren DeLuna, Dakota Kern, Abigail Martin, Faith Griffin, Emma Morgan and Brooke Bramer for the seniors’ final year as Panther Cheerleaders. As they make their way from class to class on the first day of school, the students will be welcomed back with the cheer squad’s banners and posters adorning the gyms, hallways and classrooms. The cheer squad is spending the last weeks of their summer break helping other programs and the rest of the school start the year off with a strong school spirit and community pride when the doors of Van Alstyne High School open to students on Aug. 23.

“We just finished cheer two-a-days, making signs,” Reid said. “We will participate in the spirit line for football.”

Reid said the Van Alstyne High School Cheerleaders will also be attending events such as “meet the coaches, freshman camp at the (high school).” The cheer squad will also be present at this year’s annual convocation for the Van Alstyne High School teachers.

For the larger part of the first semester, the cheer squad will primarily focus on their performances and routines needed for pep rallies and Panther football games. The exclusivity is not something intentional as the team will also try to find possible ways to cheer on as many of the other upcoming Van Alstyne High School games for the Volleyball and Basketball teams.

“We will try to make a few district games if we are able to,” Reid said. “We usually don’t go on Friday nights due to football being the same night.”

2018 will mark the Van Alstyne High School Cheer program’s return to the competitive stage when the Panther Cheer Squad returns to the University Interscholastic League regional, area, and state level competitions in January.

“We love cheering at all of our events,” Reid said, adding that the squad looks forward to helping start the year off right. “We look forward to pep rallies, Friday Night Football, cheering on volleyball, and basketball.”

For Head Coach Melissa Reid and the rest of the Van Alstyne High School Cheer program, school spirit and pride is not just a student activity, but also a way of life. Being on the Panther Cheer squad requires acrobatic and athletic skill and carries with it a constant responsibility that is not determined by the time of day.

The Van Alstyne High School Cheerleaders will be cheering on the Panther football team as they take on Dallas’ Wilmer Hutchins High School football team for Van Alstyne’s first game of the season on Sept. 1.